A 44-year-old math teacher and track coach who describes himself as a “follower of Christ” posed as a teenage boy and coerced at least two underage girls to “produce pornographic images of themselves,” according to federal prosecutors.
When the girls resisted his follow-up demands, the teacher, identified in court filings as Chad Alan Craghead of Fulton, Missouri, allegedly threatened to send the compromising photos to the teens’ friends and family members.
Craghead was arrested by federal agents on June 16, and now faces five felony charges: two counts of production of child pornography, one count of cyberstalking, and two counts of interstate communications with intent to extort. If convicted, Craghead faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
The prosecutor handling the case, Ashley Turner, and Craghead’s court-appointed lawyers, Steven R. Berry and Jennifer Hauck, did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.
As stated on the school district’s website, Craghead has taught at both North Callaway High School and Hatton-McCredie Elementary. He has no previous criminal history save two traffic violations, according to public records. Craghead’s profile on an online coaching site reads: “I am a husband, father of three, a JH math teacher, a head XC coach and a Distance Track coach for North Callaway and Follower of Christ. CMSU XCTF (Central Missouri State University cross-country/track and field) Alum.” His wife teaches in the same school district.
A grand jury returned a sealed indictment a week before Craghead’s arrest. The filing states he allegedly targeted “Minor Victims 1 and 2” between January and April 2020, just as COVID-19 began to spread across the United States. The filing is light on detail, but a government motion to deny Craghead bail reveals further information about his alleged crimes.
In it, prosecutors argue that Craghead is “a danger to the community, that he is not amenable to supervision, and is a flight risk.”
“Specifically, the defendant, who was a teacher and track coach, created a false identity of a teenage boy to induce two minor females to produce pornographic images of themselves,” it states. “The defendant then used a second false identity to extort the minor females into continuing to produce pornographic images by threatening to disburse the images to their friends and family.”
This “caused a great deal of emotional distress to the minor females,” the motion continues. “A search warrant to SnapChat revealed the defendant was speaking with multiple minor females and contained multiple images of self-produced child pornography.”
On June 21, U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps ordered Craghead detained pending trial.
Officials with the North Callaway School District did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, and it remains unclear if the district is aware of Craghead’s arrest. However, district rules require any employee who gets arrested to notify their supervisor within three working days. If charges of sexual or physical abuse are later substantiated, the employee “will be immediately suspended with pay,” according to the district’s policy handbook.